Enclosures and hut circles at Petre's Pits Bottom
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1004557
Date first listed: 20-Mar-1978
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Hams (District Authority)
Parish: South Brent
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 66176 63435, SX 66482 63273
Two enclosed stone hut circle settlements and later tinner’s caches 1485m north-west of Avon Filtration Station.
Reasons for Designation
Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. There is evidence for later industrial activity in the form of tinner’s caches which at their best are roofed structures into which cassiterite was periodically stored. Also peculiar to the South West was china clay working and the channels which cross one of the enclosures link a china clay works to a dry. The china clay was extracted by water and carried in suspension to the dry where the water was removed. Despite disturbance by later industrial activity The two enclosed stone hut circle settlements and later tinner’s caches 1485m north west of Avon Filtration Station survive well, and indicate the continued and changing use of this area through time. The enclosures will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, use, re-use and development, the changing agricultural practices and industrial uses, as well as social and domestic organisation within the prehistoric settlements themselves and their overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument which falls into two areas includes two enclosed stone hut circle settlements and later tinner’s caches situated on the southern side of the Middle Brook valley close to its confluence with Petre’s Pits Bottom on the lower north western slopes of Old Hill. The northern enclosure survives as a roughly oval enclosure containing up to five stone hut circles and a small tinner’s cache built into the northern wall of the enclosure. Four of the huts are free standing and the fifth is attached to the southern interior enclosure wall. The huts vary in diameter internally from 5m up to 8m and are defined by low walls up to 0.5m high and the largest has a curving interior division. The enclosure is cut by a leat relating to nearby tinworking activity and also by two china clay channels dating to the 19th century. The whole of the interior had been subject to peat accumulation and soil creep. The southern enclosure is D-shaped with three sides defined by substantial walls up to 1.8m wide and 1m high and the fourth side formed by a steep scarp slope which was probably the result of tin working activity. It contains the partial remains of one stone hut circle to the north and interior dividing walls. A later drystone oval pound was inserted on the south side and a small tinner’s cache inserted into the southern wall of the enclosure which still retains its corbelled slab roof forming a beehive shape, has two entrances and measures approximately 1.5m in diameter internally.
Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity, some are scheduled but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 1015
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Four – The South-East , (1993), 106-107
PastScape Monument No:-441873 and 441876
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing